A theologian with the wit to expose the laziness of the new atheists’ argument
The hypocrisy of an academic atheist who chooses to play God
The economist knew the survival of civilisation rested on belief but couldn’t make the leap of faith
Dissecting the reputation of a Pooterish atheist with a selfish, perhaps genetic, need to be noticed
Kristina Carlson’s Mr Darwin’s Gardener proves that the God debate still generates copy and sells books
Transport for London’s development plans threaten a forgotten graveyard for paupers and prostitutes in south-east London
The atheists’ desire to reject all forms of religion has led to the formation of a new, irrational and intolerant, secular faith
Meaning only to skim through Alain de Botton’s new book Religion for Atheists (Hamish Hamilton, £18.99) I read every word, engaged by his wit and limpid prose, impressed by the sheer plenitude of facts on display, and finally delighted to find such an effective apologia for religious belief.
One of the strangest sights in contemporary intellectual life has been the apotheosis of the secular saint. Like the holy men and women of the past, they gather disciples around them, whose interviews devoutly record their words and deeds; like the martyrs, they suffer for their unbelief, but their last utterances, transfigured by suffering, are all the more treasured. Their lives and deaths are reported in hushed tones, for these magi of the social media are trumpeted by their hagiographers as the true prophets of our time, baptised in wine and purified by sin. In the secular pantheon, cleanliness is next to ungodliness. As a preacher, a Terry Pratchett promoting euthanasia outranks any pope, pastor or rabbi. When Christopher Hitchens died last year, a Diana-like shrine was erected outside his apartment. Not piety but celebrity is the highest virtue.
‘I would ordinarily side with the atheists and secularists against the Pope. This time, I couldn’t’